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Listserv i.e. ability to submit forum posts by email

Current behavior:
Discussions and collaborations between members can currently only be handled online (within forum or blog pages)

Desired behavior:
Listserv functionality where members can mail-in comments and receive email summaries of all comments

Notes:
1) The biggest challenge is how to enable this without overloading our servers with email traffic. This can ramp up quickly.
2) We are starting the work on forum email notifications, this handles this need at least partially.

166 votes
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    Dmitry ButerinDmitry Buterin shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    124 comments

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      • Walt BilofskyWalt Bilofsky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The Wishlist is set up for customers to give you input on specific missing features.

        What we lack is a support forum more suited to exchanging tips with each other and with your support staff about ways we have found to use WA and work around issues and problems.

        We've discussed this before, and I maintain it will cost you less staff time in the long run to have their answers visible to multiple customers instead of just the one who asks, and for users to be able to help each other and reduce the load on your support.

        Lacking that forum, I'll do what I can here to free you up for managing improvements. :)

      • Walt BilofskyWalt Bilofsky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thanks for your response.

        We talk a lot on the wishlist about what WA doesn't have, and the things we need to work around, but overall it is a tremendous asset for us. Since switching, we've been able to advertise events, get registrations, have options for online and at-the-door payment, and look so much more professional than our old website with less effort, even though we are a volunteer organization. Our members are more engaged and our membership records more complete.

        I also appreciate your plan to implement top wishlist items this year, and the features you have already added. I particularly like your workaround for color coding events; it has made our calendar more attractive and useful.

        As a programmer since 55 years ago, I've always looked for the most results from the least effort. You at WA have a more meticulous and thorough process and look for complete solutions. This serves you well, and it's necessary in implementing large systems with hundreds or thousands of different users. I understand that it takes time and resources.

        I'm just hoping to persuade you that my fast and cheap approach will be beneficial for this particular feature. :)

      • Team HuskyAdminTeam Husky (Email features, Wild Apricot) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Walt,

        I’m a designer in Emailing Department Crew in WA and I’d like to answer to our message on behalf of my team.
        First of all thank you for attention to WA and for your undying persistency and passionate desire to help. We highly appreciate your advice and we do hope you still have faith in us.

        As you might know, this year we have an ambitious plan to “pay our customer debt” — our plan to launch as many feature requests from our top wishlist items as we can. For now we already have a complete solution for "Scheduling E-mail Blasts" request (343 votes) which is now awaiting for release and we are in the middle of analysing "Allow Secondary Email" request (290 votes).

        Listserv is also on the list but unfortunately there is no update yet. We just have it on a close view.

        Thanks for being with us

      • Regina BenedictRegina Benedict commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Please listen to Walt! Or try to hire him! We desperately need the ListServ feature. I don't want to have to change to another membership management program when Wild Apricot seems to meet all of our organization's needs - except for this one.

      • Walt BilofskyWalt Bilofsky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This feature has the 9th highest vote total of the suggestions not already being worked on. It can be largely addressed with modest development resources. I know you don’t like partial solutions, but please don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

        With apologies for mostly repeating myself, here’s a design that can make this better, in two or three steps:

        Phase 1:

        1. Include full text of posts in Immediate forum notification emails.
        2. Include a link marked "To reply to this post ..." that goes to the post.
        3. Tighten the subject line to feature the topic subject and remove unnecessary words.
        4. When a user posts, automatically subscribe them to that topic with frequency Immediate.
        5. Default topic subscriptions to Immediate instead of Daily.

        This will provide a lot of the functionality of listservs. It’s a big improvement for relatively little effort. It requires no UI changes or additional mechanism inside WA. It shouldn’t require much testing since it only affects the content of the email notifications and one subscription setting.

        Phase 2: Provide some functionality for admins to mass subscribe members to a forum. For example, add a “Subscribe to forum(s)” function to search results. Or add forum subscriptions to member record export and import. No need to include mass unsubscribe; members get an unsubscribe link in notification emails.

        Then later, or instead, implement "Managing email subscriptions to forum updates": http://forums.wildapricot.com/forums/308932-wishlist/suggestions/8826331-managing-email-subscriptions-to-forum-updates-941 . The design is already there and just needs a little tweaking.

        This will get almost all listserv functionality. The only difference is having to click a link to reply instead of replying by email, and there are advantages to having it that way: keeping the chatter down and reducing the email load on the servers.

        I hate to beat on you guys. I know there are a lot more needs than resources. But doing at least Phase 1 gets you a lot of customer satisfaction for relatively small effort. I’m trying to get an online discussion going in our club, and the existing forums put up barriers that don’t have to be there.

        Thanks for your consideration.

      • YvetteYvette commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Are there any updates from Wild Apricot regarding this? We need a listserv feature for our members/contacts ASAP.

      • Mollie O'NeillMollie O'Neill commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        As I understand it, the current blog feature does not send the posting out to the members unless we use another program such as Mail Chrimp. Also, the current blog feature brings hundreds of spam postings that must be deleted one by one so we had to disable the comment section. A separate, monitored Listserv would get the conversation to the members and increase participation.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The proposal above is perfect for my need. The only change I would like to add is the ability to add a file at the same time. For instance the scenario is to report a maintenance issue and add a photo of the issue.

      • Walt BilofskyWalt Bilofsky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You say above:

        "The biggest challenge is how to enable this without overloading our servers with email traffic. This can ramp up quickly."

        There are two ways you can reduce this load:

        1) Require the user to click a link in the email and go to the forum in order to reply, rather than allowing them to just reply to the email.

        2) If you do allow reply via email, let the admin optionally set the forum so that email replies go to just the sender of that email, rather than to the whole forum.

        I've mentioned both of these before, but want to highlight that they will help solve the server load problem.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        We just moved to Wild Apricot and our members are up in arms about not getting the full post content in the email deliveries. Our previous system did this. They could open the email, and easily see the full messages and not have to go to the website, login, and get to the right page to see the message. I'm not sure this is the right wish list to comment on, but it seemed related to my concerns.

      • Soheil R-ZamirSoheil R-Zamir commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Instant notification option for Forum is very badly needed. You have been evaluating the idea since 2014. Please just do it!!!!
        Thank you :-)

      • Patrick DolanPatrick Dolan commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Add our voice to the chorus of requests for this feature. Immediate and easy mass communication is very important to community organizations.

      • Walt BilofskyWalt Bilofsky commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Those needing this as a critical function may be interested in our interim workaround. Our old website used GNU Mailman. When we switched over to WA, we didn't want to lose that functionality and have people complain that the new site was worse than the old one.

        So we still use the Mailman listserv. My co-webmaster implemented a nightly API task which keeps the mailing list synchronized with our member list in WA.

      • praoprao commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I also have a couple of organizations I would like to bring on board, but the listserv function is critical for them deciding to sign up. Just trying to keep the pressure on!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Almost a year ago we were told this forum feature would be available in January 2016. We signed up two associations and they are still waiting. We'd like to sign up a third association, but it is critical that they have the capability of receiving and replying to forum messages via email. When is the anticipated date of release for this feature?

      • Charlie HoodCharlie Hood commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        1.Speed it up. Have to wait too long for changes to save, even though I have a 75 Mbps connection.
        2. Add a more fully integrated listserv module that can be used from outside email clients (a unique email address for each "Group" that I have set up in WA that will send from any email client to all members within that group).

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